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Suspicion of election fraud has spiked since the 2020 presidential election, and with the Tuscaloosa municipal elections approaching quickly, the validity of our ballot counting has been called into question.

According to City Clerk Carly Standridge, the people of Tuscaloosa have nothing to fear, as the city’s ballot-counting technology is fairly new, up-to-date and “extremely secure.”

“The voting machines are kept in a highly secure locked warehouse and are tested three different times to make sure they are all zeroed out,” Standridge said.

The machine test consists of feeding in a practice ballot and requesting a printed receipt. After having made sure which options were marked on the ballot before feeding it into the machine, an efficiently-working machine should print a receipt that matches those choices. If it does, the machine passes the test.

“The first test is done two or three days before election day and is a public meeting so anybody that wants to can attend that test,” Standridge said.

The other two tests are completed on election day: once before they are loaded onto the trucks to be taken to their polling location, and another once they have arrived at their destination.

The city of Tuscaloosa recently recruited poll-workers to staff eight polling locations. Usually, only residents eligible to vote in a particular district can work at its polling station. Yet, due to COVID-19, the rule has been amended to allow any eligible voter of any Tuscaloosa County district to work at any of the polls.

Absentee voting starts on Feb. 1 but election day is March 2, where the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information on the municipal election, visit the City of Tuscaloosa website here.

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